Total Rewards - Compensation


Compensation includes wages earned by an employee for work performed for an organization. UCI’s compensation objectives include ensuring the organization is classifying work accurately and paying in accordance with the external market, rewarding and encouraging peak performance, achieving equity based on assigned responsibilities, and ensuring compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and best practices. UCI’s compensation programs include the Career Tracks Classification Program, ACHIEVE Performance Program, merit programs, salary structures (including step structures), inventive plans, fair pay and equity programs, and more.


Internal fair pay is an assessment that attempts to identify and address inequities in compensation between employees who are performing substantially similar work under similar working conditions. Internal equity does not attempt to make pay exactly the same for employees simply because they are in the same job title, but rather considers the similarities and dissimilarities in experience, skills, abilities, performance, and aligns the pay fairly and equitably based on those factors.

The Human Resources Office of Partnership for Strategy & Innovation is responsible for the administration of the campus-wide fair pay program for non-faculty staff; however, every employee and manager has a responsibility to ensure the success of the program. In accordance with federal guidelines, enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is unlawful to knowingly or unknowingly discriminate in pay or application of employment practices, and therefore all salary decisions must be made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. In addition, the University’s policy prohibits discrimination based on gender expression or gender identity. The Total Rewards team conducts fair pay audits annually to ensure any biases in pay decisions and pay disparity findings are addressed.

View the 2023 Fair Pay Study Results for details.


The review of external market equity is an assessment that attempts to align University salaries with the external market compensation for the same duties. Market pay varies by job, industry, labor market, and other factors that impact an assessment of an organization’s position in the marketplace. External market equity is used as a retention tool, as well as a means to ensure competitiveness in pay practices. External market equity is not used solely to match market pay, but rather provides guidance on when it is most appropriate to lag, match, or lead the market based on budget, availability of skill and mission critical jobs.

How is employee pay determined?
Almost all jobs at UCI are assigned a salary range with a minimum and maximum salary, and the salary range is set based on external market salary data. The salary range is designed to allow for career progression within a job classification. Employees newer to the role are typically paid in the lower half of the salary range, and those with more experience in the role are paid in the upper half of the salary range. An employee’s actual salary is determined based on factors such as skills, experience and job duties. Internal equity and fair pay standards are taken into account in all pay decisions.